From the entirely-justified complaints that appeared on the forums almost from the moment this episode aired regarding tonight's plot crutch, I suspect you already know tonight's secret phrase. Should surgery be required to remove the resulting polyps from your vocal cords, I'm certain Messrs. Spelling and Kern would have no problem covering your medical expenses.
The evening begins with Phoebe cooking in the kitchen. Personally, I find it difficult to believe she knows how to operate a toaster, much less cook an entire meal. Cole enters from the dining room in a rather drab taupe-on-taupe shirt-and-jacket combination. I suppose the recently-vanquished Belthazor was responsible for the character's fashion sense. Pity the demon is gone for good. Or is he? "Hey," Cole begins. "Where is everyone?" Phoebe crosses from behind the center island to fling off her concealing granny apron with a flourish and an accompanying "Surprise!" Beneath the apron she wears a simple and chic little black dress. "You look beautiful," Cole breathes, and while I'll agree that the dress is nice, I must note that Phoebe will need to do something drastic to the rat's nest on her head that's masquerading as a hairstyle before I'll consider applying a similar adjective to her overall appearance. Phoebe thanks Cole for the compliment and adds, "I sent everyone away so we could celebrate." She passes a glass of champagne to a befuddled Cole, who wonders, "What are we celebrating?" Because it's been a full four weeks since the last new episode, and the writers evidently believe this is far too long a period of time for their apparent target audience of Ritalin-scarfing prepubescents to retain the memory of major plot points, Phoebe naturally responds, "You're finally fully human! No more demon half means no more obstacles to our relationship." Number one, Feeble McGloaty, Cole could have been fully human long before the end of last season had you not thrown a hissy in the attic and smashed the Demon Be Gone to the floorboards, and number two, as I am most decidedly not a Ritalin-scarfing prepubescent, I am entirely capable of remembering the small matter of you blowing your boyfriend out of the water when he had the "unmitigated" "gall" to propose to you in the last episode, an all-out-of-proportion response I would deem a considerable obstacle to your relationship had anyone thought to ask my opinion. Which no one has thought to do. So I suppose I should just carry on with the recapping then, shall I?
Phoebe clinks her glass against Cole's and sips. Cole sets his glass on the counter and hesitantly notes that ridding the Manor of the others might not be the best of ideas. He's concerned Phoebe has left herself vulnerable to attack, especially now that he no longer has access to the powers of Belthazor to protect her. Phoebe dismisses his worries and leans in to snack on his neck. Cole gently extracts himself from her embrace. "You don't seem to understand," he tells her. "With The Source injured, you might be in more danger than ever before." Phoebe counters that Cole doesn't understand "that sometimes a girl needs a night off." In an effort to help him "relax" -- if you know what she means, and I think you do -- Phoebe leans in once more to nibble on Cole's ear, neck, and Adam's apple. He melts into her ministrations a bit before abruptly drawing away again. "It's just that without a strong leader, there's anarchy in the underworld." Phoebe rolls her eyes at this buzzkill. Together, Phoebe and Cole recite the litany we've heard since the smiting of the Smoked Bint and the attendant wounding of The Source -- Dark demonic forces sent from the flaming maw of Hell would normally compete with each other to curry the favor of their leader. With said leader grievously injured, infighting ensues, with various dark demonic forces building "factions" to overthrow and replace The Source. The easiest way to impress a potential faction? Why, offing the Charmed Ones, of course. Which, if I remember correctly, is also the easiest way to impress The Source. And the Triad. And whatever dark overlord the demonic underworld happens to be harboring at the moment. Therefore, the Charmed Ones are always a target, correct? As they have been since the series premiere, yes? And this conversation is simply a waste of my time, right? Thought so.